Social learning versus attributional interpretations: The effect of task familiarity on task performance perceptions and future success expectancies


Social learning theory (Rotter, 1954, 1966. 1975) predicts that generalized locus of control influences how expectancies for future success result from success or failure at performing a task. However, a study by Weiner et al. (1976) has cast serious doubt on the social learning model of expectancy formation by supporting the attributional (Heider, 1958; Weiner et al., 1971) interpretation of the same phenomena as a function of the stability of causal attributions. Unfortunately, Weiner et al's (1976) findings are suspect due to several problems with their methodology. The present study was designed to correct for these problems. Partial support was found for elements of both the social learning and attributional theories. Specifically, social learning theory best accounted for the effects of task familiarity on changes in expectancies, while attributional theory provided the best description of the types of information that are involved in the initial formation of expectancies.



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Social Behavior and Personality


Society for Personality Research

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